The wood project, olde pioneer days in Westbrook
LAST SATURDAY WE CUT AND HAULED WOOD. When I say “we,” I am being generous as to my actual role regarding the chain-sawing of a tree and the carrying of logs. I was the point man.
In other words, if the tree acted in any way other than my husband the woodcutter predicted, I was the person ready to call 911. If the chainsaw, a weapon delegated to the wielding of some of the most frightening characters in movies, bit or kicked back, I was the person ready to call 911. As I watched my husband, I realized that if any of those things happened, I would be the one running from the scene screaming for help, because I would panic and not be able to call 911.
I WASN’T TOTALLY USELESS last Saturday, I did carry a few small logs, and I did tell my husband where and how best to park the pickup (he always appreciates guidance when it comes to the operation of moving vehicles).
It was a difficult afternoon. With just the two of us to cut and load the wood, it brought us face to face with our own limitations. What we could have done in a couple of hours, a couple of decades ago, we looked at as an uphill struggle and eventual impossibility, because we are just a bit too mature for such things now. I wasn’t depressed by such a revelation; I was relieved. We left the rest of the wood project for the kids to do the next day.
SUNDAY IN THE WOODS WITH THE FAMILY sounds like a book written by the mother of two daughters, who decided to help their husbands bond with their new father-in-law. City boy has the strength of an ox. He lifted and hauled until I thought he could empty the forest on his own. Country boy took over the chainsaw duties after my senior citizen husband’s sciatica kicked in. The girls took pictures of each other climbing the fallen tree, and I brought coffee.
As I watched the touching back-to-our-pioneer-roots-scene, I thought about how utterly impossible the tasks required of our forefathers to cut, split and haul, not only wood to burn, but wood to build, clearing fields, removing stumps, roots and stones. How in the world could they have done that with the simple tools they had at hand? And how utterly amazing it was, I thought, that my youngest daughter was picking up and carrying rather large, mud-laden logs to the truck. They were so heavy she had to hug them to carry them. She was wearing a white North Face — mine.
MY OLDEST DAUGHTER CARRIED A COUPLE OF LOGS, and she probably would have continued, but her scarf kept getting caught in the branches. She took to documenting the scene on her iPhone.
I wondered if the energy everybody put forth (the energy the men put forth), was actually worth the effort. Increasing the woodpile was not only delegated to a weekend in the woods, but also linked to the time it would take to haul it, split it and stack it, not to mention carrying it into the house and building a fire.
WHEN IT STARTED TO RAIN, we headed home to a huge pot of “chowda,” my contribution, and an afternoon of football. It was a raw day. I built a fire, and we napped away the rest of the afternoon. It was nice. I decided that the wood project is worth the effort, and I want to personally thank the Halloween snowstorm of last year for the wood we are burning this year. Enough said.